Abrahams confirms authorship of disputed NPA Zuma case letter
The former president’s lawyers believe the letter shows that Shaun Abrahams was concerned about potential undue political interference in the case against Jacob Zuma and Thales
Former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams has confirmed that he is the author of the letter former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers will on Friday morning fight to have admitted as evidence in his permanent stay of prosecution application.
Zuma’s lawyers believe the March 22 2018 letter from Abrahams to then acting head of the Hawks Yolisa Matakata shows that Abrahams was concerned about potential undue political interference in the case against Zuma and French arms company Thales.
Abrahams this morning confirmed he “did write the letter”.
“But I am unable to comment any further,” he said, referring all queries to the NPA and the Hawks.
While judge Bhekisisa Mnguni on Thursday urged the state and defence to “find each other” over the status of the letter, it appears that the state is standing firm that Zuma’s lawyers must formally apply for it to be admitted into evidence.
It is understood that Abrahams asks the Hawks in the letter to “urgently” conduct further investigations into accusations raised by former Thales lawyer Ajay Sooklal.
Sooklal has publicly confirmed that he will be a state witness against Zuma and Thales, should the case against the pair proceed.
In his affidavits to the Hawks, he reportedly claimed that Thales paid a €1m donation to the ANC — in exchange for the state dropping charges against it in October 2004.
Zuma’s advocate, Muzi Sikhakhane, on Thursday contended that he had a letter, emanating from the NPA, that specifically raised concerns about the role that former justice minister Penuell Maduna allegedly played in the dropping of charges against Thales, which resulted in the arms company not being charged with Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik.
This, Sikhakhane suggested, countered claims by the state that Maduna played a “minimal role” in the Zuma prosecution, and showed that, as late as March 2018, the NPA had asked that allegations he had received bribes be investigated.
Sooklal has reportedly claimed under oath that Maduna received a €50,000 bribe for his part in ensuring that the case against Thales was dropped, despite the company reneging on a deal to assist the state in its case against Shaik.
Maduna has vehemently denied these claims.